Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name

Allied Health-BS


Health & Sport Sciences


Shelley Payne

First Committee Member

Robert Braun, PhD, MPH, CHES

Second Committee Member

Joan Rocks, PhD, ATC, AT

Third Committee Member

Sarah Bouchard, PhD


back pain, minorities, demographics, NHANES

Subject Categories

Other Public Health



This statistical study examined low back pain and possible contributing socioeconomic factors using the National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention funds this biannual survey which documents everything from nutrition, physical activity, and overall health status of Americans. The survey uses a nationally representative sample of approximately 10,000 individuals from all races and ethnicities. Across the United States, it is well-known that minorities suffer from a higher burden of illness and disease compared to Caucasians. The goal of this study was to identify if low back pain is also experienced more by minority populations. Using the data analysis software, R Studio, a logistic regression was performed and one variable was identified as significant. Subjects who reported they were not in school were more likely to experience back pain compared to those who reported they were currently in school. The literature review revealed that minorities do experience low back pain more frequently than Caucasians. The results were not supported by the literature review and this is most likely due to the fact that the survey question used was not specifically tailored to low back pain.